The BBC are televising a reconstruction of a Roman Trial:
The man on trial was accused of murdering his father, Sextus Roscius, a wealthy landowner. Cicero, retained for the defence, was keen to make his reputation. His rhetorical point was that the alleged murderer had nothing to gain from the killing, while others did. The stakes were high on both sides: Erucius, the prosecutor, wanted to avoid being branded - literally - as a false accuser.The Times has a salutary article about making sure that personal information is not left on one's hard-drive when one disposes of a computer:
All this was regarded as first-class public entertainment by the crowds who swarmed around the forum in ancient Rome looking for the juiciest cases. They came for the oratory and, no doubt, to find out whether young Roscius, the defendant, would be found guilty: the penalty for parricide was to be flayed with a whip, sewn into a sack with a dog, monkey, cockerel and snake, and then thrown into the Tiber.
A research team from Glamorgan University analysed 111 supposedly clean hard drives, bought for less than £1,000, and found that more than half still contained personal information. This included national insurance numbers, evidence of a married woman’s affair and detailed biographical information about children.
Ninety-seven of the hard drives were bought on eBay and four at car boot sales. As a control experiment, ten drives were also sourced from LCS Remploy, a company specialising in the destruction of data. All proved to be clean.
The original owners of the other 101 drives included universities, multinational companies and a Church of England primary school in East Yorkshire, all of which were breaking the Data Protection Act by failing to dispose of the information effectively.
Andrew Blyth, the head of the research team, said that they had found more than enough compromising information to blackmail several individuals even though they had looked only at a small proportion of the recovered data.
And finally, a baby hippo!